Because of the rapid spreading of coronavirus, the CDC has extended the no sail date for all cruise ships sailing from or to U.S. shores. The current ‘no sail’ order would have expired on July 24, but it has been extended through September 30. The order forbids any new passengers or crew to be admitted to any cruise ship from the U.S. The largest cruise ship organization, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), says that the cruise ship industry employs one million people and generates $150 billion in revenue yearly.
The CDC strongly blamed the cruise ship industry for the spread of coronavirus because they did little to follow the recommended guidelines to limit the spread. Although the U.S. did not give any money to help the cruise line industry, the U.K. has provided them with some funds in their economic recovery package.
Mortgage Rates Hit New Low
If you have ever wanted to buy a home or refinance, now is an excellent time to do it – at least as far as low-interest rates are concerned. Freddie Mac announced that it has dropped its rates to a low that has not been seen in 50 years. It is now at 2.98% for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage. A 15-year fixed-rate mortgage is available at 2.48% interest rate.
June experienced a rise in housing starts by 17.4% from May. This resulted in a total of 1.18 million new homes, possibly the result of the previous shutdown and people wanting to move out of the large cities.
1.3 Million New Unemployment Claims Filed
Many businesses continue to be closing down and laying off employees for one reason or another – mostly due to coronavirus-related problems. Last week, it was more of the same with 1.3 million people filing for unemployment, and another more than 925,000 self-employed people filed for financial assistance through the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program. Though lower than in previous weeks, it still is considerably more than the average 700,000 in weekly claims before the pandemic started.
Borders to Stay Closed Until Aug. 21
Canada, Mexico, and the United States have agreed to keep borders closed because of the pandemic. The closure is for non-essential traffic flowing between nations but trade will continue. The closure is for passenger traffic and it will expire on Aug. 21. Passenger traffic has been reduced by 90%, letting about 45,000 passenger vehicles cross the border per month.
Although everyone is hoping for the better, coronavirus continues to impact the economy. A document submitted to the White House reports that there are 18 states considered to be in the “Red Zone,” which means that they need to implement stronger actions to help curb the rapid spread of COVID-19 in those states. Most of these states are in the West and South and most of them have not proceeded to put measures in place to help slow the spread of the virus.
The Next Stimulus Package?
Americans are waiting for Congress to provide positive news that there will be further financial help and they want to know who is going to receive it. Many unemployed people have been receiving an extra $600 per month but that is expected to end this month. If the program is continued, it will likely be less.
The Democrats have presented an overall new stimulus package of $3.4 trillion but the Republican Senate wants to limit it to $1 trillion. The package will need to be debated and hammered out in the next three weeks.